Nineteen farmer-leaders from across the Corn Belt gathered for three days in Washington to learn the ins and outs of our nation’s capital as part of the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) Leadership Academy, sponsored by Syngenta. For more than 20 years, hundreds of corn industry leaders have benefitted from Syngenta’s “Leadership At Its Best” program.
Following a week-long conference in Greensboro, N.C., last August for media and communications training and other association management instruction, the second phase of the Leadership Academy helped attendees to be the best advocate possible for their communities and their crop. Farmers received policy briefings from NCGA’s Washington staff and heard from expert panels of congressional staffers and lobbyists about how to most effectively wield influence among decision-makers in Washington.
Growers then had the opportunity to meet with their lawmakers or key staffers. One grower, having just visited his delegation as part of a state association visit, got the chance to represent the agriculture industry at a House Committee on Small Business roundtable. Taking their personal perspectives and the policy briefings they had received the day before, farmers reported having fruitful discussions with their legislators.
Recognized at a small graduation ceremony the final night, the members of this year’s class were Keith Alverson, Chester, S.D.; Tim Burrack, Arlington, Iowa; Anthony Bush, Mt. Gilead, Ohio; Matthew Cary, Elwell, Mich.; Donald Elsbernd, Postville, Iowa; Jeffrey Enger, Marion, N.D.; Joel Grams, Minden, Neb.; Mark Gross, Bridgewater, S.D.; Charlie Hampton, Cambridge, Wisc.; Paul Herringshaw, Bowling Green, Ohio; Kevin Hurst, Tarkio, Mo.; Tim Lenz, Strassburg, Ill.; Michael Nichols, Richland, Ind.; Rick Palkowitsh, Burlington, Colo.; Danny Qual, Lisbon, N.D.; Jim Rapp, Princeton, Ill.; Herbert Ringel, Wabash, Ind.; Bruce Unruh, Burlington, Colo.; and Mark W. White, Macon, Mo.